TV notes

TV notes

: Just a few notes on spending the day at MSNBC yesterday…

: I did a half-dozen three-minute segments working with three producers, each part of a team responsible for a different chunk of the day. We’d talk about a theme in the links I put up the night before — eyewitness stories, help, finding the missing, the videos, collaborative news, bittersweet stories. They’re talented producers who know how to focus a story and work with incredible speed. We’d agree on the images; they’d write cues for questions; the anchors would take over and ask them in their own way and I was supposed to try to guide the conversation and get the latest news in when possible.

: When I was sitting with one producer, I saw the bulletin cross her screen saying we’d upped our contribution to tsunami relief to $350 million. That got insta’ed. Oliver Willis and Roger L. Simon each commented on it. And so the boss — who turns out to be a long-lost college friend named Mike Tanaka — suggested I get this on the air. And so I quoted the bloggers and brought the buzz on the air. News is great.

: The laptop I was supposed to use on the air broke. Then so did the next one. What does the MS in MSNBC stand for again? So I used my beat-up machine. Before each segment, I’d cache the sites we were going to talk about in Firefox tabs; the video output went to the control room and they’d cut to my screen whenever I mentioned a new site. It’s a PowerPoint wet dream.

: They had me in a part of the studio they call the “sitroom” because that’s where they have the 3-D map of Iraq; that’s the war zone. After a few segments, they dressed the set and taped cloth over the wires from my laptop and since everything was gaffer-taped, I couldn’t move the machine. So I ended up working in that corner of the studio, which is kind of fun: making minimedia in the heart of mondomedia.

: This is the part I found most fascinating: When I arrived, I sat in a row of desks next to a terrorism and military analyst from the Cato Institute who rotates duty with other analysts sitting there all day, every day, just in case we capture Osama or, God forbid, the terrorists strike.

: : Yes, I know I talk too fast. When I’m in practice, I remember to keep it slow. Sometimes, I just forget. Thus: ickypedia.